Well hello there 2016, Are you ready for this?

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After my race season had ended, I took some time to recover fully from my injuries. I tried to get out riding as much as possible (which was very little) throughout November and December awaiting the frigid weather and what would become the greatest Christmas gift anyone has ever given me. I had mentioned to my wife that there was only one thing I needed for Christmas and that I did not expect it to be fully paid for at all, but anything would help in purchasing it. I had my eye on a new Cyleops Powerbeam Pro Virtual indoor trainer, that would allow me to train year round indoors on a very precise simulation of outdoor cycling, while avoiding the winter and rainy days. I had read a handful of reviews from the most credible resources I knew of, on every aspect of the unit and was 100% positive it was exactly what I needed. The weeks leading up to Christmas, I was very suspicious of my wife Sam’s behaviour regarding what gifts we were giving each other. She kept mentioning that money was tight and she was rather upset that she wasn’t going to be able to get me my new trainer. At one point she even broke down in tears after I had told her the unit I had ordered through my work (Sportchek) had gone missing and someone had must of sold it. Little did I know behind the scenes, she had arranged with all of our parents to chip in on my gift. Sam was even going as far as trying to forfeit her Christmas gift from her father so that I could get the gift I really wanted. They had taken care of the entire gift and let me tell you, not only was I surprised and gracious, but I was the luckiest husband in the world to have such a sweet and selfless wife that would go leaps and bounds, by any means necessary to make sure I had an amazing Christmas.

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On Dec.26 I had setup the trainer in my newly furnished pain cave, without any difficulties at all due to my excessive and in depth research on the unit lol. I had heard of a few different programs (Zwift and Trainer Road) that were third party compatible with the Powerbeam pro, which would be able to control the automatic resistance and that we’re a lot more interactive and versatile. I purchased a month subscription to both platforms and my full tilt training had begun. Trainer road is an incredibly useful tool for training, with thousands of custom power oriented workouts that vary in difficulty. However it lacks in the virtual reality application, as all you can do is stare at is the cycling data displayed in front of you while watching a movie or television, which for me is incredibly boring at times. I need to be engaged in the activity, even if it’s basically a gruelling virtual cycling video game haha. Zwift, on the other hand is a interactive virtual reality cycling simulation with a vast array of custom workouts and personal challenges to keep you interested. The platform also enhances the experience with a multiplayer format meaning you can ride with thousands of like-minded cyclists from all over the world, encourage others on their performance, all while chatting with everyone you meet via a group chat application. I literally can meet up with friends at some point and ride together with them on the giant island of watopia that Zwift has created with challenging, realistic terrain.

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My first ride was an embarrassment, nearly flipping my bike and cycle trainer over numerous times during a sprint, trying to get my body used to the fixed positioning. I stuck at it and by the third day was seeing improvement in my conditioning. My legs were slowly coming back to me from the long hiatus that we will call, “Mark’s rehabilitation, from treating his body like he’s 20 years old again”. Since January 1st I have logged a total of 27 rides, 24 hrs and 33minutes, 757km, 5,835 metres climbed and had a blast doing it. If I was going to keep up with this training load, I will need to fuel myself accordingly. The one thing I’m constantly surprised by whenever I talk to people I meet on a regular basis about , is how little most know about how important nutritional supplements are for athletes and how to effectively utilize them for the amount of training /racing load you are putting on yourself. By no means am I an expert in nutritional advice, but before I put myself through the gruelling training that I am going to embark on myself this year, I did myself the due diligence of researching as much as I could about what my body will need to make it through the year with success.

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To give you a look into what this year will look like for me, in order to sustain over 7 hours of training, as well as racing, on top of my already healthy diet and daily intake of 4 litres of water a day, I will consume:
1,248 clif shot Raspberry/ power bar strawberry banana energy gels (52/ 24 pack cases with 24,960 carbohydrates. Consume 1 energy gel 15 minutes prior to activity and 1 gel every 20 minutes during activity)
14,196 grams of First Endurance Ultragen protein powder with glutamine and BCAA’s (10.5 / 3lb tub’s. 2 scoops of powder mixed with 12 oz of water immediately after exercise to aid in recovery)
1,456 litres of water, ( hydration is very important to keep lactic acid at bay, to avoid fatigue and cramping)
4800 grams of First Endurance EFS electrolyte enhancing powder (6/ 800gram tubs with over 174 grams of electrolytes. 1 to 2 scoops mixed with 12 ounces of water consumed every thirty minutes during high intensity exercise or racing.)
1,080 endurance specific First Endurance Multi-Vitamin Pro Tablets, ( 3 tablets daily with a meal for sustainable body levels as well as antioxidant support.)
360 of First Endurance Optygen HP, VO2 max increase, anaerobic threshold increase, lactic acid reduction and cortisol modulating tablets, ( 2 tablets daily, one month before beginning of race season for 6 months continuously)
588 grams of First Endurance PreRace powder, mental acuity, focus, cardiac increasing formula that improves max workload and time to exhaustion ( mix one scoop with 12 ounces of water and consume 15-30 minutes before exercise or racing, but be cautious as PreRace contains a caffeine/ taurine Neuro stimulant proprietary blend and should not be taking in addition to other caffeine sources such as coffee or tea.)

It is very easy to over train or become sick, especially if you are not fuelling properly to restore the levels that you deplete during strenuous exercise. Please consult a professional or do your research before beginning your training regiment, so that you don’t end up bonking early on in your season!

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My training schedule is based on my current fitness and without introducing my run schedule,l because let’s be honest their is nothing graceful about how I run at this very point haha. I plan to introduce treadmill work on Mar. 1st and see if I can develop my run to my goal of 4:00-4:15 a kilometre over a 5 kilometre run, but that’s a whole different challenge in itself.
Day 1 : 1.5-2 hrs @ 95%-100% intensity followed by 20 minutes stretching.
Day 2 : 1-1.5 hrs @ 110%-125% intensity followed 20 minutes stretching
Day 3 : 1.5-2 hrs @ 100%-110% intensity followed by 20 minutes stretching
Day 4 : 1-1.5 hrs @ 110%-120% intensity followed by a 20 minutes stretching
Day 5 : 30 minute @ 125%-130% intensity followed by 30 minutes stretching and 1 hour TENS therapy session.
Day 6 : Rest
Day 7 : Rest
I try my best to cycle this schedule every week in a regular pattern, but having a busy life and a 10 month old daughter can change that quickly, so if I miss a day I will always throw in an extra workout in on another day to make up for it. I am happy to share any information I have learnt along the way, so feel free to contact me by any means and thanks for listening! Stay tuned for an update on my progression as we creep ever so closely to race season! Cheers.

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